Our Heritage

Mart, once known as Willow Springs, is a small incorporated city eighteen miles east of Waco on State Highway 164 in the eastern corner of McLennan County. Settlement in the area began shortly after the Civil War. The community was known as Willow Springs in the 1870s, but the name was changed to Mart when a post office was granted in 1880. Residents chose this name because they expected the community to become an important commercial district. In the mid-1880s Mart had two steam gristmills and cotton gins, a church, two schools, and 150 residents; cotton and wheat were the principal cash crops grown in the area. The International and Great Northern Railroad completed the section of track between Marlin and Waco shortly after 1900, bringing increased job opportunities to Mart and making outside markets more accessible. In 1902 residents voted to incorporate with a mayor-council form of city government. Mart was ahead of most towns its size with paved roads, electricity and telephone service. The Missouri Pacific acquired a shorter Waco-to-Marlin route from the Southern Pacific in the late 1960s and completely abandoned its tracks through Mart, depriving the community of its remaining rail service and removing a sizeable payroll from the local economy. Today the City of Mart continues to grow with most citizens enjoying the rural setting and commuting to Waco for employment.